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Academic committees

History and importance of the academic committees

In the early years of the AGSC & STARS Program, the members of the AGSC agreed that the foundation of the statewide articulation program had to rest with the academic faculty across the state who serve as the experts in their chosen academic fields. As a result, the AGSC set out to establish different academic committees that would take on the role of reviewing possible transfer courses and making recommendations to the AGSC regarding course approvals and template ratifications.

The AGSC established General Studies Academic Committees (GSACs) to review courses for Areas I-IV and ratify templates that fell within their discipline area. In 2018, the 21 GSACs were restructured into three Area Academic Committees (AACs). 

In addition the AGSC created Professional Academic Committees (PACs) that primarily focused on ratifying templates that serve the needs of transfer students who choose to major in various professional type programs. Through this review/approval process, official transfer guides are created and made available to thousands of students who attend public community colleges in Alabama. This process has been a tremendous success and continues today. 

AACs

Composition and terms of appointment of AACs

There are three Area Academic Committees (AACs):

  • The Area I&II Academic Committee oversees the approval of transfer courses and the development of transfer guides that fall under the general academic areas of English, Humanities, & Fine Arts.   
  • The Area III Academic Committee oversees the approval of transfer courses and the development of transfer guides that fall under the general academic areas of Natural & Mathematical Sciences.  
  • The Area IV Academic Committee oversees the approval of transfer courses and the development of transfer guides that fall under the general academic areas of History & Social Sciences.  

Each AAC has 28 members divided equally between the four-year universities and the community colleges.  

  • The Council of Chief Academic Officers appoints the 14 four-year members.
  • The Community College System Office appoints 14 two-year members.
  • Each member serves a 3-year term with the first group’s membership with staggered terms (1-year, 2-year, and 3-year) so that a new 3rd rotates on each year.
  • Each committee elects a Chair and a Vice-Chair (one would be from the 4-year reps and one would be from the 2-year reps). The chair and vice-chair will serve 3-year terms.
  • The members must have experience teaching in at least one of their discipline areas.
  • The members should also have some broad knowledge of their discipline areas.
  • The member could be a college dean or department head, but it is not a requirement.
  • Recommendations of course approvals and template ratifications from the committee to the AGSC require 15 "yes" votes to move the item forward to the AGSC for final approval or ratification. Members may vote by written proxy or by representative.

Roles and responsibilities of AACs

The Area Academic Committees will be responsible for the following:

  1. Review/make recommendations for courses and review/establish templates (transfer guides) in their general academic areas.
  2. Review and recommendation for approval or disapproval of new courses from two-year and four-year institutions. (Note: In evaluating a course, a committee is not to mandate a specific model, but to determine that the course is within the general parameters that the committee has established and that it is broad enough in scope to meet the general studies designation.)
  3. Review of revised courses proposed by institutions as general studies courses in the discipline.
  4. Review previously approved courses under the following conditions:
    1. when there is a significant change in the content of a course;
    2. when the institution wishes a course to be considered for approval for a different Area; or
    3. when the AGSC deems it appropriate to review a course.
  5. Review/update of the established discipline specific guidelines for their discipline areas as needed.
  6. Review discipline templates and development of new discipline templates (transfer guides) as needed.

Procedures and meetings of AACs

For each of the roles and responsibilities listed above, the STARS Office will initiate and monitor the procedure/process to see that these objectives are met. In most cases, STARS will send out requests to the chairs and the committee members in an electronic format. Chairs are strongly encouraged to use e-mail to facilitate action by committee members.

AAC's are not required to hold face-to-face meetings in order to take action on proposals and templates. Chairs and committee members can use e-mail, telephone, faxes, or other electronic means to conduct their work.

Chairs of committees should maintain records of actions taken during the year so that they can provide an annual report to the Executive Director of the AGSC & STARS.

PACs

Composition and terms of appointment of PACs

Each Professional Academic Committee (PAC) consists of a representative of each baccalaureate institution that offers a program in the discipline appointed by the chief academic officer and two non-voting representatives from non-baccalaureate institutions appointed by the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.

All voting PAC members must be qualified to teach in the particular discipline as defined by SACS standards and must be actively working in the discipline.

The AGSC will set no limit on the length of terms of PAC members, for this will be determined by the baccalaureate institution, the Department of Postsecondary Education, or the professional organization.

Each PAC will elect from the baccalaureate members a chair and a vice-chair, who will serve two-year terms. The vice-chair will succeed the chair in that office. (The current Professional Committee chair will serve the first term as chair of the corresponding PAC.)

Recommendations of the PAC will require two-thirds majority vote, and members may vote by proxy or by representative. The two non-baccalaureate representatives serve as non-voting members.

Roles and responsibilities of PACs

The Professional Academic Committees will be responsible for the following:

  1. Periodic review of the discipline templates, including consideration of specific proposals from institutions offering the program, and development of new templates, as necessary.
  2. Continuing dialogue with the faculty in their discipline, campus curriculum committee(s), and discipline organizations at their respective department/institution.
  3. Communicate with state professional organizations in the discipline where one exists.
  4. Provide reports to the Executive Director of the AGSC & STARS recapping activities and decisions of the committee when requested.
  5. Other tasks as may be assigned by the AGSC.

In addition to the established responsibilities listed above, the AGSC would also encourage the academic committees to:

  • Study, discuss, and keep in touch with the changes in the field of study.
  • Sponsor periodic professional developmental activities for faculty in the field.
  • Create and maintain a communications network that provides for sharing and collaboration among faculty at different institutions.
  • Investigate and share information on research and good practices in the field.

Procedures and meetings of PACs

For each of the roles and responsibilities listed above, the STARS Office will initiate and monitor the procedure/process to see that these objectives are met. In most cases, STARS will send out requests to the chairs and the committee members in an electronic format. Chairs are strongly encouraged to use e-mail to facilitate action by committee members.

PAC's are not required to hold face-to-face meetings in order to take action on proposals and templates. Chairs and committee members can use e-mail, telephone, faxes, or other electronic means to conduct their work.

Chairs of committees should maintain records of actions taken during the year so that they can provide an annual report to the Executive Director of the AGSC & STARS.